Using wood to showcase the food
A typical morning starts at 7 a.m., when he selects logs from a covered shed out back, pairing wood type to dish according to its aroma and how it burns. Wood is as crucial an ingredient on his menu as the food in his walk-in. To hear him tell it, there’s even a kind of poetry to it. “It evokes nature and freedom. Sacrifice and reward. Being fully yourself.”
Trees have been at the center of Arginzoniz’s entire life. His first job was as a forester, followed by a long stint at a local paper mill. All the while, he honed his culinary skills. As he showed me around the restaurant, bought in 1989, he explained why he focuses on this one technique. “It intensifies the flavor of whatever you cook.”
His food proves the point. The aroma of burning wood is in all his dishes, but it’s there to showcase the ingredients, lifting them up while remaining modestly tucked in the background — much like the man himself.